Apple and Google commit to power offices with renewables

Technology companies independently sign up to solar and wind agreements in California

Pic: Andy/Flickr

Pic: Andy/Flickr

By Sophie Yeo

Tech giants Apple and Google both demonstrated their commitment to tackling climate change this week, separately purchasing large volumes of renewable energy to power their US operations.

Apple announced on Tuesday that it had committed $848 million to buying solar power from a massive plan in California. Owned by First Solar, the facility will supply Apple’s new spaceship style campus – and some of its other offices – with 130 megawatts of electricity for the next 25 years.

“It’s 1,300 acres. It’s enough power for almost 60,000 California homes…[and] every other office we have in California, all 52 retail stores we have in California, and our data centre in Newark,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

First Solar said that that the agreement was the largest corporate contract of its kind in the solar industry.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in mid-2015 and be completed by the end of 2016.

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“Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Joe Kishkill, chief commercial officer for First Solar.

On Wednesday, Google announced that the company had bought enough wind energy to offset the consumption of their headquarters in Mountain View, California.

“While we’ve been committed to being a carbon-neutral company since 2007, and we purchase clean energy for our data centers, this agreement is the first of its kind when it comes to our offices,” wrote David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president for real estate and workplace services, in a blog.

The agreement, signed with NextEra Energy Resources, will repower a wind farm at California’s Altamont Pass with new turbines, which will deliver 43 MW of electricity into the grid from 2016.

Google described the new technology as more efficient and safer for wildlife.

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